[Pink Pig Time Machine: May 21, 2012]
After an extended soujourn in London and environs, back to New York and taking comfort at Fleur de Sel, where I ate one a wonderful, seasonal, Spring-type dish: soft shell crabs sautéed in almond flour, garnished with ramps, sitting in a pea emulsion. I can still taste it. Some simple sea scallops to follow with leeks and artichokes, then a raspberry feuilleté, and a complimentary second dessert, apple pancake with heavy cream.
I was being recognized at Fleur de Sel by now, I admit.
Next evening, that German songbird Ute Lemper running through her Jacques Brel paces at Joe's pub, then a home-cooked supper: pheasant sausages, potatoes roasted with rosemary, and petits pois à la fermière (braised with lettuce). Stilton to follow and claret to accompany.
Can you believe Esca has been open more than a decade now? My first dinner there, ten years ago, remains by far the best. Maybe it was the company. Monkfish liver, the foie of the sea, was unusually accompanied by rhubarb. Spaghetti with sea urchin and crabmeat was a signature dish. Rockfish with chili was the main event. The Italian wines ordered by the quartino were too numerous and various to record.
Coming downscale, I continued the week at Belmondo, a short-lived and very basic bistro in the space on Avenue B opposite Manitoba's bar, which has been through a number of incarnations since. Nothing fancy about Belmondo, but that's why I rather liked it. The rough wine and plain food easily found in Paris back streets, and no frills to the ambience. I ate a frisée salad with a hunk of warm chèvre on top, then steak frites, and finished with a clafoutis (my diary doesn't specify the fruit framed by the batter). Vin rouge.
And a little more live music going into the weekend: the Cowboy Junkies at Irving Plaza.